Hey Rerolled bro's.
My intent in this post isn't necessarily to ask legal advice, as I am currently contacting some offices for that purpose. However, I am looking for any input if anyone has experienced difficulties with medical bills and collections.
To try to sum it up as concisely as I can, last year was a shit year for me with some pet/family deaths etc. Due to this stress, I wanted to seek help which led to me having a hospital stay back in September that was mandatory as they believed I would inflict self harm (not the case, I was certainly upset, and was sent there through my employee assistance program seeking a referral with the intent of getting help outside of the hospital), and the hospital would not allow me to refuse treatment. As such, I was forced to stay 4 days, and after insurance paid their portion, had a bill that I could not, and still cannot afford.
I pushed back and forth with their billing office and even applied for aid listing my total income, current expenses etc. (which btw, their form they had me use was probably the least official/professional looking form I've ever seen) To prove that I could NOT afford the bill, let alone payments in amounts that they were asking (realistically I was going negative already and had to make cuts elsewhere). The guy then replied in e-mail (which I believe can be used legally in my favor) to make a payment of any amount that I could monthly, without fail (Good faith payment?). And i did.
Well, 3 months later after doing this without fail per his instructions, the checks being cashed, etc. I received a letter that they had moved the debt to collections.
I know I should not be confirming any debt with the collectors etc as it can be used against me. I will, if necessary, be going over that with legal assistance available through my work. I am also researching possibly filing bankruptcy as a last resort, but I really hope it doesn't have to come to that.
But if anyone has experienced something similar and had taken any actions that were useful to them in this situation that they could share, I would be greatly appreciative. I know this stuff can vary state to state legal wise.
Well, I'm not sure if it's state law or more national. But basically they claim if they believe you are a danger to yourself or others, they can legally keep you there. I told them when I was first talking with them I knew I could not afford the stay and they still kept me.
But yeah, I wasn't having high hopes for responses here. Just checking anyway.
I mean, either they had physicians certification and/or a judicial order to keep you because you were a danger, or you simply sue for false imprisonment. I don't know what to say other than if their explanation and following of the law was correct then I'm not sure what you can do on that end other than argue that you signed no agreement to pay for the hospital stay and the physicians decided to provide the services so you are not obligated to pay for the debt. Except that you already did pay towards it.
Yeah, I was a bit naive in that regard. Mainly because I dont deny that I needed some assistance. The person who admitted me was not a doctor but just someone in charge of intake assessment. The doctors themselves were not in at that hour.
In my own ignorance and the way I answered some questions with cynicism, is basically what they used as a reason to detain me. Even though to every person I explained it to (in person) to express my tone, etc. could tell I was not serious. I really feel it was just an excuse to get guaranteed income and exploit a law to claim it was to protect me from self harm.
Technically, even before I paid the minor amounts in good faith, they still received most of it from my insurance. They gathered all that crap before they forced the stay on me.
In the United States as long as you are actively making payments on a medical debt they should not be able to report you to a credit bureau or send you to collections. If you miss payments then they can and it is very hard to recover from. If you can afford to keep sending them $25 a month forever then there is not much else they can legally do to get more money out of you. If you do come into some money and want to pay off the balance, typically you can call in and say I will pay 50% of my remaining balance today if the other half can get written off and they will work something out with you. None of what I just wrote will prevent them from attempting to scare/bully you into paying more. They will say things like your minimum payment on X balance is $400 a month, but just keep sending them $25. It sucks and is part of the reason healthcare is so ridiculously expensive.
^ have heard stories of people just sending $1 a month.
Give guns to the queers.
Is the debt to the collection agency large? I assume it is, based on your stay.
Typically collection agencies will also settle as they buy the debt at pennies to the dollar, but I don't really know what you're working with right now.
Also you may want to post this on /r/personalfinance. They'll require as many details as you can give them, but really the guys there give absolutely solid advice on your best options.
The collection agency likely isn't going to be able to fix anything here since the hospital is the major issue. I think the only prudent way forward here is to get a lawyer involved ASAP.
So an update. I found out this isn't really a formal collections agency. They are the company (or the hospital claims) that acts on behalf of the hospital specifically for collecting the debts and it's not yet been sold to a 3rd party agency. therefore not yet affecting my credit. however it's still a bs situation(to me).
Involuntary holds are still billed to the patient. It is possible, I would imagine, to fight a 5150 and treat it as false imprisonment. But, you would have to get statements from the nurses at least. Vanderhoof would definitely be more up on the know on this subject as he's a psychiatric NP.
They will probably throw you in debtors prison if you don't pay in full right now.
That'll teach you to seek help!
Seriously, good luck and keep us posted. This is such utter bullshit. In the same situation I don't think I'd ever pay. Whoever wrote the rule that said they weren't allowed to let you leave is the one who should be on the hook.
Imagine, instead, Tarisk convinced the hospital to release him, and then he went home and killed himself. Or worse, he was released and then killed someone else (had he threatened someone else). Would you be back here saying "OMG, his family needs to sue that hospital! How could they discharge him! Why didn't they take him seriously!"
Also, he was an inpatient for 4 days. Clearly there is more to this story. This wasn't some 24-hour hold. He needed a thorough evaluation, and probably treatment.
psn - Caduceus888
There really wanst much more to the story. But i'll let you know how it went.
I was struggling with some stress from losing 2 pets, my cousin committing suicide, and just work related shit. I wanted to find an outpatient referral to seek help therapy wise. They asked if I would harm myself, I said probably not, I don't see myself doing it. They asked if I had a plan if i did. So i said I dunno. maybe if I wasn't a anti-gun liberal (not intending this to turn into a shitstorm of a derail with that comment. and no, i dont believe in taking them away. I just dont want to have one. I dont care for them when I've fired them, etc.) and maybe that would be a plan. I said I've had a "fantasy" scenario of maybe turning into traffic. But i ended it with "would I do it? I don't see myself ever doing it. I like living too much. I'm here because of the stress and want to try to get over it"
But because of the whole anti-gun remark, they treated it as "If i had a gun right now, I would". And that statement and how the intake person wrote it down is what the actual psychiatrist said when he saw me on the THIRD day, that got me in there.
because it took that long for one to see me and talk to me. the rest of the time was trying to kill 16 hours a day bored to shit with group activities and people who were legitimately wanting to end their life or coming in to sober up. They did nothing to actually help any of my stress. the shit made it worse because I wanted to go back to work.
Worst case therapy wise, I have severe anxiety, possibly some ADHD. Depression runs in my family but not really a factor in it after I talked to some therapists afterwards. Even they told me that I dun goofed when I said that to their question. But I really wasnt expecting that to be WHY they were asking the questions at the time on the intake.
So in regards to your 4 days comment. I was in there 4 days because it took 3 of those days to see an actual doctor. He knew damn well I shouldn't have been in there that long and let me go the following morning.
Not to mention, this was a private hospital. Not your standard public/general hospital. This is a place for profit and of course they want me in there. These guys asked me in 5 different ways if I would end my life until I gave an answer that fit their prerequisites.
Last edited by Tarisk; 03-11-2016 at 02:45 AM.
Sorry man, I feel really bad for you getting hit with collections...but, people are just doing their jobs when they put you on an involuntary hold. They thought you were going to harm yourself and even asked you if you had a plan. You said "I dunno". WHY!!! Why would you say that? The "plan" itself is what causes psych holds.
Thank god my therapist has never been dumb enough to try and put me on a psych hold because I've told him worse shit than that. Fuck, I've told worse shit than that to nurses just asking the standard interview questions before a regular doctor's appointment. Anybody trying to commit me to an involuntary psych hold is going to experience as much violence as my horribly out of shape and overweight body can generate.
5150s are 72 hour holds and can be extended. The extension typically needs some kind of court order, IIRC.
But at the time, as Gavin/Twilight (whoever that is, sorry, I don't watch name changes) said. I figured what I said was tame, and even my actual therapist i saw after I left knew I wasn't serious. As a private hospital I think they're honestly doing both the whole "safety" thing and also "well we need money" route too. I have talked with people who have done similar at a more general public hospital and they were observed and actually interviewed more deeply before going further. This was just like a "that's a trigger! you're fucked" scenario. I even originally answered (at least in my mind) that I had no recent or vivid thoughts of suicide. It was more like a "well last year, I think i thought about a scenario?" type deal. I was treating it like a therapist would ask it to just kinda get an idea for how I am. but they kept probing for that trigger answer to stamp it for commitment.
My friends/family know me, I talk about my shit a lot with them. I don't just dwell on it, keep it to myself and let it build up into just forgetting that they're there for me. I have that kind of low confidence in which I'm not afraid to ask for help, be it with life, not knowing an answer, etc. I can't be that person 100% confident in something. Be it skill/knowledge/etc. Hell, was even seeing a therapist earlier in the year and talking about stuff.
Regardless, I know there's no point in really fighting the hospital on it legally. A lot of it was just being pissed about the making good faith payments and still being thrown to collections that pissed me off about the whole thing. Money is tight, but I'm just gonna have to do the bankruptcy route. Which honestly will probably be more useful to me in the long run. I'm just that person who doesn't want to drop what I owe people. I get that the hospital still(hopefully) had my best interests in mind and did what they thought was best as a service to me. I WANT to pay it or at least part of it for the efforts, but I can't in the time they want. But it's their loss more than mine already going that route. Just sucks knowing im taking the hit on my credit for 10 years and ditching some debt to some other people/companies not involved. But I might as well start as fresh as I can if I'm fucked and learn from it.
BTW sorry for all the run on's and repeating I do. My mind races around on shit and I'm bad at paying attention to if I already covered something in a wall of text.
Last edited by Tarisk; 03-11-2016 at 04:54 AM.
I guess I'm not sure why just anyone can order a hold, though. Seems like it'd be pretty easy to demolish your average RN on the stand in a false imprisonment suit.
Maybe that was what they were trying to do but they're just shit at staffing someone that I couldn't be seen until the 72 hours was pretty much up. Not my profession so i'll never know I'm sure. I know people in mine who suck at their job and i'm surprised they're not fired. For all I know, this woman was that equivalent at this place.
Compared to this vet that was there who was actively talking about wanting to be drunk kill himself in my ward.
I think if they were able to find a way to be a little more forward and having a way to say "listen, this questioning is for determining if you are an actual danger to yourself or others". With the way the building was setup. I thought i was in a basic waiting room. There's no E.R of any kind here, it looked like a sort of office building with a front waiting area. I just thought it had multiple businesses/offices based on the size and they wanted to know what specialist I should probably make an appointment with. If I had gone to an actual E.R. type hospital, I would have damn well known their intent from the place, i've had family in the hospital for depression, etc.
Last edited by Tarisk; 03-11-2016 at 02:40 PM.
I'm not in your shoes, so I don't know how it really was. If I was at the hospital and they asked about any plans I had I probably wouldn't have told them I would turn into oncoming traffic and stuff. Maybe it seems foolish to you, but just as a lay person that would probably set off some red flags in my head.
It's one of those things when you feel like you've led a mostly normal life, never had problems or never even personally been hospitalized, except maybe as a kid for non-major surgery etc. Plus you have a history of A) people coming to you, trusting you their thoughts and feelings because they want your insight and B) going to others for the same thing. You aren't expecting the person you're telling to then turn around and lock you up. It's the same reason why I mentioned that I said the same things to my therapist I met up with after and he knew that I wasn't serious, he just knew he wanted to probe a little more to find the reason and talk about it.
Just a really expensive misunderstanding. And it's kinda repeating back to the issue of I wish someone a bit more knowledgeable in the field could have seen my responses and talked with me first before the glorified intern made the call. Or at least not almost PUSH for the red flag answers after they asked me if i had frequent thoughts of it and I said no, i dont have them frequently at all. They then went to "EVER?" and kept probing. The way they approached it, didnt feel like their intent was to hold me. But live and learn.
Plus from personal experience, with my cousin who recently killed himself, to my mother who tried 20 years ago, usually people who are going to kill themselves don't express talking about it to others first. They just up and do it, or at least try.
Last edited by Tarisk; 03-11-2016 at 03:19 PM.
As mentioned before: You could potentially fight the hold. It will be difficult though. You're going to have to get a lawyer that specializes in hospital negligence and malpractice.
Last edited by Kuriin; 03-11-2016 at 03:29 PM.
Now that I think about it, wouldn't bankruptcy be worse than an unpaid hospital bill on your credit? At least for close to a decade?
Well strictly speaking of collection agencies (if this is different for medical collections sorry), they can sue you in court. If you fail to pay the court they'll garnish wages and whatever else comes with that.
For some people bankruptcy would be the best option.
that's another reason. This company after I researched them more is a bit of a pain in the ass. History of class action lawsuits against them for harassment.
But primarily if another emergency happens (hospital, pet emergency, family etc) and costs anything more than a couple hundred and I'm fucked. As it stands similar circumstances last year like that did happens and I was only barely able to keep ahead. If I just do it, I'll go back to being 50% ahead monthly while still covering mortgage, car payment and utilities etc. And can do something positive with it for my future.
I wasn't calling it BS that they were able to hold him. I was saying that whoever gave that person the power to do so, whether it was company policy, state law or federal law, THAT entity should be on the hook for the bill as soon as the patient tries to decline the care. At least they should be on the hook for whatever part of it the insurance doesn't pay. If he had an HSA, they might basically have to pay it all.
I have however known people to do so and there are a lot more telling signs of inability to make rational decisions than taking one's self to the place to get treatment.
It's so much better that the system is set up where it can ruin your life if you even ask for help, isn't it? That way they automatically know you're not thinking rationally when you go ask for help.
oops my socialism is showing again.
BTW, that's a joke, I hope this doesn't actually dissuade you from seeking help in the future. Just, you know, maybe don't make stupid statements.
In my experience, the majority of people put on the psych holds aren't actually going to harm themselves. The system's set up to err on the side of caution, though. They'd rather get people who weren't going to kill themselves than risk missing people who will
Last edited by Ambiturner; 03-14-2016 at 11:24 PM.
The folks that referred me to the place could have also misunderstood what I saying as potential suicide risk. I just don't quite think that was it based on the person trying to call me at home later that night to check on me.
Regardless, I won't discount the underlying intent to prevent a disaster. Because yes, it's on them if I or whoever they let go home did end up ending it for themselves. But that same risk doesn't go away when they discharge you either.
There's definitely a lot of room for improvement, my point was just that they did what they were supposed to do.
Read an article not long ago that about half of all hospital bills aren't paid. I'm guessing they make their money on the percentage paid by insurance.
I can see why. After having dealt with it for the last two years. Even when you attempt to pay they don't make it easy. Had a hospital bill me, paid it. Then they sent it to collections. Paid it as well to get rid of it. They still put it on my credit report. Dicked with the credit reporting agencies for a while and got it removed. 18 months later I got a refund from the hospital, still claiming they never were paid.
Today I got a call from a collector from a hospital I never got a bill from. I knew I hadn't got a bill so I called. My info I gave them didn't match their info (new hospital) so they couldn't give me my bill. Never mailed a bill, never called. Today a debt collector called (Hipaa). I asked if the hospital didn't have the number how did you get it...ummmmm.
Hospital still has no record of me going and can't find the records of what I had done. Good luck on my paying that one.
One of the hospitals I went to doesn't do billing. All their billing is done thru another company, that company had two halfs. Billing and collection. So the first notice you get is technically from a collection company and that's how they ID themself when they send you a bill.
Last edited by Borzak; 03-15-2016 at 06:19 PM.
Both of my children were born in a German hospital via c-section at a cost of about 4,000 Euro each. They would send us the entire bill which we sent to insurance( U.S) and I think we paid about 300 to include me staying in the extra bed. She took my son to the emergency room once for croup and had to the spend the day in the hospital in a room and we were billed 200 or so for it( again insurance paid for most of it) We lived there for 8 years and never had a billing issue.
I bring this up because my wife had to take my son to an emergency room for croup again while back visiting. We were billed $2,300 for a 10 minute Dr visit after waiting for 4 hours and sending him back home. About 8 months later we received a bill from a collection agency saying that we owed the entire amount and it wouldn't be covered by our insurance. We called our rep, she put us on a muted conference call and sorted it all out. We moved back to the States last August and we have had numerous billing issues with the dr/hospital we are using now. It stinks because its right across the street from us but we are considering looking around if they dont get their shit together.
Look at how many billions of dollars we waste on TSA trying to catch terrorists bombing our planes. It's become a huge pain in the ass for travelers such as me, you and the other 99.9% of people who will never commit a terror act. But we do it to try to catch the 1 in a billion person who will bomb a plane. And doing a horrible job at it I might add.
Same with medical care. Tarisk CHOSE to go seek treatment. No one forced him to. And no one cares if he's rational 99% of the time, it's the 1% of the time he might be irrational and harm himself or others. Just like bipolar people, we don't care when they are under control, we care when they get delusional or harmful. Rational people don't tell others they might drive into oncoming traffic or that the only reason they won't shoot other people is they don't believe in guns. Those words would never escape my mouth, certainly not when I'm being psychologically evaluated. And that's the best case scenario, we have to believe that is what really Tarisk said. It could have been worse.
If there's two categories of people who never own up to how fucked up they are, it's psychotics and criminals. Everyone in jail thinks they are innocent or undeserving of their punishment, crazy people always think they aren't as crazy as they are. When either group tells me a story, I take what they say with a grain of salt. We should all be doing that as well with the picture Tarisk has painted us.
If Tarisk really was so rational or cognizant, he could have just signed out AMA (against medical advice). Doesn't sound like he was chained and locked down for 4 days.
Also, if he was at a for-profit facility, the last thing they would want is a patient like Tarisk, since he's a non-payer. The same reason why for-profit hospitals divert non-payers away from their ERs to county/government hospitals instead. Tarisk makes it sound like they kept him because they wanted more money from him, when in reality they would have wanted to kick his ass out the first day because he has no money. Don't forget it costs money to send people to collections, or collections take a significant amount of any recoverable amount.
Last edited by Izuldan; 03-15-2016 at 07:16 PM.
psn - Caduceus888
They are a for-profit center. What reason would they have to hold someone for 4 days that has a high likelihood of not paying? I'm sure they checked his insurance status etc. when he got checked in. Why take the risk on losing money on someone who didn't have an issue?
Last edited by Izuldan; 03-15-2016 at 07:36 PM.
psn - Caduceus888
Wow, great response. I can see you love cartoons. Still waiting for you to explain to me why a for-profit center wants to hold someone for 4 days who can't pay. For apparently no reason, because Tarisk was completely rational by his account.
psn - Caduceus888
It's not like multiple possible answers to that question have already been posted in this thread or anything.
It's not like an involuntary hold is something taken lightly. Especially when the person can't pay and you know you are gonna take a wash on it. They held him because they felt he was going to harm himself or another, knowing they were probably going to lose money. So it probably was something more serious than we are being told.
Last edited by Izuldan; 03-15-2016 at 08:02 PM.
psn - Caduceus888
This happens to completely rational people all the time. The legal justification is that they are not "rational" due to their suicidal ideation, but it's a pretty wide spectrum.
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